In what appears to be a totally wide open affair, trainer Michael McCarthy's Paved, Jeff Mullins' Amandine, Neil Drysdale's Californiagoldrush, H. Graham Motion's Colonia and Kenny McPeek's Princess Warrior all loom prominent among a field of nine sophomore fillies in Saturday's Grade I, $300,000 American Oaks, to be contested at a mile and one quarter over the Santa Anita turf.
Owner: Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners & Ciaglia Racing, LLC
Trainer: Michael McCarthy
Although never a factor in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf going 1 3/8 miles over the Churchill Downs lawn Nov. 3, this Quality Road filly closed well to finish second, beaten a half length in the Grade I Rodeo Drive versus older fillies and mares going a mile and a quarter on grass here Sept. 29, underscoring her ability to get the demanding Oaks distance.
Owner: Red Baron's Barn, LLC and Rancho Temescal, LLC, and Shanderella Stables
Trainer: Jeff Mullins
Although she's never faced group or graded stakes competition, this English-bred filly showed tremendous promise in her U.S. debut, taking a first condition allowance at a mile over the Del Mar turf on Nov. 22 by 3 ¼ lengths while earning a lofty 89 Beyer Speed figure. Run exclusively in sprints over her first eight starts in England, her mile win on Nov. 22 was her fourth consecutive race at a mile on turf and she displayed an impressive turn of foot after breaking tardily under Drayden Van Dyke. With Van Dyke opting to ride the far greater accomplished Paved, Mike Smith will take over on Amandine, who could be a double digit longshot on Saturday.
Owner: Alice Bamford
Trainer: Neil Drysdale
Lightly raced, this homebred daughter of Cape Blanco returns to Santa Anita following a solid half length tally in the Grade II Sands Point Stakes at a mile and one eighth over the Belmont Park turf Sept. 15. Third, beaten 2 ¼ lengths two starts back in the Grade I, Del Mar Oaks at the same distance, Californiagoldrush has three wins from four starts and retains the services of Flavien Prat as she stretches out a furlong.
Owner: Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, LLC, Maurice Lagasse, Haras d'Etreham & Bethlehem Stables, LLC
Trainer: H. Graham Motion
A dedicated deep closer, this French-bred daughter of Champs Elysees rallied from far back in a field of 13 sophomore fillies to take Keeneland's Grade III, 1 1/16 miles turf Valley View Stakes by a half length on Oct. 19. Third, beaten two lengths by Californiagoldrush two starts back over a yielding turf in the Grade II Sands Point Stakes at Belmont Park Sept. 15, Colonia has two wins and a third in four starts for Motion, dating back to her U.S. debut on July 7 at Arlington Park. Saturday's Oaks will mark her fifth different track in as many stateside starts and will be her 10th overall.
THE GRADE I AMERICAN OAKS WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 8 of 10
Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT
Kodiak West—Andrea Atzeni–120
K P Pergoliscious—Tyler Baze—120
Princess Warrior—Brian Hernandez, Jr.–122
Paved—Drayden Van Dyke—122
Special early first post time for a 10-race card on Saturday, Dec. 29 is at 12 noon. Admission gates will open at 10 a.m. For additional racing information, please visit www.santaanita.com/live-racing or call (626) 574-RACE.
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